Our 31 hour layover in San Francisco went beautifully well! I'm spilling over with rave reviews for every vendor we used. (Disclaimer: the author was not compensated in exchange for any recommendations in this blog. The information provided in this blog is solely the opinion of the author.)
The Omni Hotel San Francisco was beautiful. We were welcomed with complimentary cake, champagne and a kind birthday card. Our accommodations were perfectly comfortable, and the complimentary pre-scheduled morning breakfast and beverages delivered to our door was the perfect way to start our busy day. The location on California Street was convenient, and we were able to find reasonable dining close by.
Call us cheesy, but we loved Alcatraz. It was a peek into a completely different time and different world. I'm glad we chose to take the first cruise of the day; it cut down on crowds, and the morning sun above the water was a lovely way to see the city skyline.
Our secret to seeing all of one city in only one day was hiring a local guide, and I can't say enough good about Holger with Silver Lion Tours. From the ease of communicating with him to his exuberant greeting hug, it truly was like having a friend show you proudly around his city. He snuck us around traffic and tourist traps, stopped for any photos we wanted, offered informative commentary about everything, provided much needed snacks, and surprised us with little known local secrets all throughout the day. He not only took us everywhere easily, but he recommended his favourite restaurant for dinner (didn't charge us for the time it took us to eat), helped us prepare for our long-haul overnight flight, and saw us safely to the airport in a timely manner. Thank you so much, Holger!
I enjoyed San Francisco very much; it seems like a warmer version of Seattle with heaps more character. Perhaps I'll go back again someday and spend a bit more time.